Tuesday, April 3, 2012

An Interesting Compliment

I don't often post spur-of-the-moment about personal experiences, but I had to share this one because it made me think as well as making me smile. I have a new term (at least new to me) to share: Gateway Goth. It's a simple story, but in many ways, a very common occurence in my world. I was approached by an executive today while standing in line for my cup of morning invigoration and caffeination. When one enjoys coffee as much as I do, all of the most convenient java suppliers are mapped out and frequented almost like clockwork. I know I'm not the only one, but I was certainly surprised to realize that there are some people who are as haze-free as I am before coffee, and their powers of observation are actually impressive.
The gentleman who approached me had noticed the burgundy stripe in my hair. It is not uncommon where I live to see women all day long with long black hair, but a strip of burgundy does stand out just a bit. He nodded to the stripe, then to my antique jewelry and asked "Are you Goth?" Brow arched, I chuckled and nodded, even though the rest of my wardrobe, aside from being black with a little lace, was, in my opinion, fairly mainstream with a focus on professionalism (read: corporate). Ok, so the Edwardian boots beneath my slacks might have been a bit of a giveaway, as well.
I told my new acquaintance that I was impressed by his powers of observation. He confided that he had a Goth college student for a son and had found himself impressed by the genre as well as more than a bit reminiscent about his own punk teen years. Apparently he was "less expressive" and more "conformist" during his college days, so a lot of this was still part of a learning curve for him.
After a fifteen or twenty minute, very enjoyable conversation, he thanked me for being "approachable" and for the affirmation that there are always things one can do to express their "Gothness" in even the most mundane attire. I did admit that I have similar conversations with folks from all walks of life on a fairly regular basis. This intrigued him and he asked "And they aren't spooked?"  I couldn't help myself..."Everyone likes to be spooked. So perhaps they're glad to know.... We're everywhere." He laughed and nodded sincerely. "I sure hope so."
This brought our conversation to an amicable close, but not before he informed me that I am a "Gateway Goth"... one of those goths that others come to with questions. Apparently we "lift the veil" but only enough to let the truth leak out just enough to build the appeal and get even the most vanilla individuals in touch with their Inner Spooky/Macabre/Shadow. We are the good alternative... where parents warn their kids about "gateway drugs"... apparently some are happy to direct them toward Gateway Goths.

And now I'm off with a chuckle and a fresh cup of coffee.

Keep Calm and Spooky On,


  1. Cool... by the way, is your real name Raven, or is it a nickname of sorts?

  2. Hi Wings. It is a nickname given to me the first time quite a few years ago by different people who did not know one another, with neither Goth nor pagan intentions. I tell myself it's due to having black hair and a pointed nose. The fact that I love the birds helps a bit, too. In all honesty, I have smiled at times when at clubs someone with whom I share a mutual friend will approach and say "So you're Raven?".."Yes, me and a dozen other females in the club." The best response I've ever gotten to that.."Ok, so you're the Raven that doesn't misspell it by adding 'h', 'y' or some fraction of the alphabet to make it seem mystical and Gaelic?"... "Yup. That's me." I like just plain old "Raven", hanging out in some dark corner, out of the way and observing the festivities.=)